The personal income tax deadline this year was set for April 30, just as it has been in the decades that preceded it, with the exception of last year, when the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) moved the income tax filing deadline to June 1 and allowed income tax payments to be deferred to September.
However, the CRA decided not to make any special exceptions for this tax year despite the fact that nearly 1 million Canadians had been locked out of their CRA online accounts and were unable to file electronically. There were pleas from accountants, small businesses and politicians for the CRA to push the filing deadline to June again this year to accommodate people who were locked out of their accounts and forced to stay home during the lockdown.
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP, Eric Duncan was part of the effort to push the CRA to grant extra time for filing of personal income tax. MP Duncan indicated that CRA is already backlogged, and his office is being flooded by calls from people who are frustrated with the CRA.
People have not been able to complete their taxes or connect with CRA by phone to obtain the documents necessary for filing.
“With this year’s tax deadline now passed, it was absolutely tone-deaf and unreasonable that the government could not have extended the deadline until June 30,” said MP Duncan. “We have had hundreds of panicked phone calls from seniors and those on fixed incomes, who were booked to use our volunteer tax service, and we had to cancel them because they were told to stay home. Not everyone can do their own taxes, or even have a computer or internet. It makes no sense that there couldn’t be an extension to take the pressure off both the tax filers and the overwhelming calls for help into CRA.”
MP Duncan said he expects that the chaos and CRA will continue for months to come and will have a detrimental effect on people who are expecting benefit payments such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement or the Child Tax Benefit, both of which are tied to income tax filing.
MP Duncan said, “If the government can take two years to do their own federal budget during a pandemic, why couldn`t Canadians just have been given an extra two months to file their taxes- especially when they are being told they must stay at home?”